Saturday, October 18, 2008

Balancing Act

Life is a lot about balance, isn't it? So often I feel like I'm on a tightrope, and working without a net.

Our Stake President called last night to let us know that Buddy is coming home from his mission on Monday, after only 5 months. We don't really know why, though he has been struggling with some health issues.

This is one of those times that I struggle as a blogger and as a mom. My blogger self wants to be real and and let people in on the struggles that are going on inside of me, vent a little, and get some advice. Maybe even talk about the guilt I feel that I didn't do a better job as a mom. (I mean surely there was something I didn't teach - didn't say - didn't do the way I should have, right?)

The mom part of me feels loyal to protecting my child, and not just blasting his issues and feelings out into space for all to see.

I suppose there will come a balance of some sort. But today while I'm having trouble finding that balance, I'd probably better err on the side of less is more.

It's painful in a lot of ways, but we're going to get through it.

51 comments:

Cheryl said...

Hey. I'm sorry; it's hard trying to find balance --it's even harder when other people are involved.

I hope things are okay with your son and everything ends up on a positive note. It probably already will, you know, since your attitude is freaking awesome! Seriously; just saying "we're going to get through it" means that you will, you know. :)

jjstringham said...

My husband came home early from his mission too. And ended up marrying me while he "should" have been gone. So I have no bad feelings about missionaries who come home early. It's not for everyone. And don't feel like a bad mom because of his problems, whatever they may be.

lmerie said...

While I am not Mormon and do not know the details of the Mission time, I can relate to finding the balance with concerns and fears with kids.

Even not in the land of blog, it is hard to know how much to say when our kids are on a hard patch of their path.

I say this to hang in there and I will say a prayer for y'all.

kristi said...

It's hard to find the right thing to say. So I'm just going to say that I love you, and buddy. :)

cornnut32 said...

my hubby came home after three months because of health concerns. sometimes that's all a missionary needs to learn what they were sent to learn. i think the biggest thing to remember is that no matter what other people say, because they will talk, that he is not a failure. and you are not a failure as a mother. too many mothers feel that way if their sons do not serve or come home early.

good luck, you can get through this difficult time, i know you can.

Cyndy and George said...

Today as I read your post my heart sank and I don't know why. I don't even know buddy and I only know you through this blog. But I do know how it feels to be a mother and to be a mother of a son who is struggling with a mission. It is not easy and you can't help but feel guilty. I have always found great comfort in this quote by Boyd K. Packer “A successful parent is one who has loved, one who has sacrificed, and one who has cared for, taught, and ministered to the needs of a child." I have no doubt that YOU are a very successful parent. My prayer today is that you will find comfort and peace and understand Buddy's decision. He will be fine, I just know he will!

NG said...

In the last 2 years, our ward has had 3 missionaries go out and all 3 have come home early. It's a little weird. But each of their mission presidents has made a point of reminding the ward that they were finishing their missions honorably. Though I, obviously, do not know all the reasons this decision was made, I do know that each one was struggling with some kind of health issue. My sense is that it's no longer the policy to keep missionaries in the field when they could be better treated for health issues at home; that messing around with their mental/physical health isn't worth finishing the entire two years of mission time and the Lord isn't requiring that much of a sacrifice from them. The time they were there was sufficient to accomplish all that the Lord had in mind for them.

All 3 in my ward are doing great now and feel like they made the right decision. Ward members are not treating them any differently than if they had finished the entire time of their mission, which I think is terrific.

Sorry for the long, long comment, but I just thought I'd share that I think there are probably very good reasons and I hope and pray that you'll all come to understand the wisdom of the decision eventually.

Wishing him the best.

Kimberly said...

Oh honey, I am so so sorry. Whatever the reasons, this sort of thing can be so hard to deal with. My brother had health issues that took him out of the field and he was later able to go out and finish his mission. It was really hard on my parents, feeling like they had to explain and justify him all the time. Really hope you're able to find peace over this. ~Hugs~

Salt H2O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Salt H2O said...

This is why I wish my blog was almost completely anon- there are so many issues I'd like to go to for help but at the same time they're exceptionally personal.

So as to sharing with the blog world, you're right, less is more.

On the other hand, don't beat yourself up as a mother. I see my mom doing that with her kids that are grown and married. They make a choice that isn't the best and she thinks that she failed in some way or another.

The fact is regardless of why he's coming home- he's his own person you did the best job possible and you are NOT responsible for the choices he makes.

Coming home early doesn't make him a bad person. I knew my fair share of returned missionaries that were bad people- and a good number who either came home early or never went that are exceptional people.

I think the most important thing for any missonary who comes home early, or young man who doesn't go on a mission is to feel the love and support of the ward, and to not feel alienated.

Best of luck.

momof3crazykids said...

My prayers are with you and your family. I hope your son's health concerns turn out ok. There is nothing to be ashamed about coming home early. Though I can understand your feelings.

Crazy Mom of Four said...

i'm sorry tough times for all of you.

Scuttle said...

Randi your family is in my Prayers. You will get through this and I know that when you see him off the plane. You'll give him a big hug 'cause no matter what he's your baby and you love him. No matter the reason, your in the Lords hands and He'll carry you.

That Girl in Brazil said...

I think you did an amazing job of "balancing" this post - you let us help you without "airing dirty laundry," as Someone said in General Conference not long ago. (Don'tcha just love Someone? He's so smart.)

I'd like to give an Amen to ng's comment, and also add my own. Our worth never lessens because of our choices. Whether Buddy finished his mission honorably or not, he still has the potential to do incredible things. Look at Alma the Younger! Be proud of your son unconditionally - and tell anyone who demands an explanation that you love him. Then tell them to stuff it. ;o)

the MomBabe said...

{{hugs}}

*MARY* said...

You have such wise and loving comments here.
I think your son even going on a mission proved what a great man he is, and what an awesome mother he has.

Amy Peterson said...

Love is the most important thing that I can give you and you could give him! Love is THE MOST IMPORTANT! We can't change the past the only thing we can change is the future. I sometimes find myself replaying and doing things different reliving the emotions- what is the point. Set a goal, change the future, move forward! Your the best- if anyone can do this perfectly it is you! Hey- and we all support you!

Help I need a user name! said...

Hey, there-
Just remember, God is in control. It's not you, or Buddy, or even the Stake President. It's God. He has a plan. I know you mentioned health problems before, and I'm glad the church leadership is considering the health of these men as they go out and work for the Lord. It sounds like Buddy is an honorable kid, and maybe a mission just wasn't right for him right now. But God is in control. He (God) won't fail you, and He won't fail Buddy. Let His plan unfold, and hang in there. I'm not Mormon, so I don't fully understand, but I know it must be a little bit of a rough time. I will keep you in my prayers.

RunJenRun said...

I think one of the most difficult things to do as a parent is to stand back and watch your kids make their own decisions.

If there is one thing I feel like I have learned this year is that Heavenly Father has a plan for each one of us. Our challenge is to love, learn, and encourage those around us to keep trying to be a little better.

I imagine this is one of the most difficult things for buddy to do. It is a very visual thing, and one way or another there will be questions to answer.

Just remember that there is a plan. Learn what you need to learn from it, and encourage buddy to be honest with himself, with God and to move forward one step at a time.

Beverly said...

Several years ago, I had a son and daughter serving missions at the same time. Both came home early due to health issues after serving a year. I wasn't concerned about my daughter not going back out since she was close to being done, but I really wanted my son to go back out and complete his mission. Life has been hard for him since returning from his mission and I wonder if it's because he stayed home. It's especially hard (even now) when missionaries come home and a big deal is made over them. Neither my son nor daughter was asked to report or give a talk or anything. It's like they never even went out.

My prayers are with you and your son. Keep praying, ask for blessings, and seek the Lord's will. Hope that doesn't sound trite. It's sometimes the little things we do that make all the difference.

Pezlady Jana said...

I'm sure it feels like the "big picture" right now, but believe me, it is only a smidge of what really matters. Our neighbor just came home after being out on his mission for 8 months. OUr Stake Pres said that it takes some missionaries 2 years to accomplish what he learned in only 8 months. It'll be okay. I'm sending a {{HUG}} your way!!

Jan said...

The biggest regrets in my life have come from sharing information about my kids when they don't really care. It's like throwing your pearls to those who judge harshly. Nobody is going to that here, but you understand what I mean. Even though I know you would get tons of great advice and great support and great outpouring of love, you have to ask if it will benefit your son. Talk about it when you are ever ready. You will know when the time is best.

Randi, we never know the whys and the reasons. It will all work out. Just be there for him. I just hope everything is okay with him. I feel so badly about he might be going through. Take care.

kristen said...

Oh randi, I'm so sorry. Just know that a mission is HARD; it just is. I had some shell shock when I arrived to a little third-world country and was thrown into the crazy world known as missionary work 24/7. Please don't beat yourself up over this. You are a good person, who I'm sure did everything she could to raise her kids right. When it comes right down to it though, he's his own person who makes his own decisions. What he's going to need right now is your love and support. And it may even be something he can work through and then get himself back out there.

Email me if you need to vent or 'talk'. Love you. ;-)

LisAway said...

It's too bad that there even has to be an issue with people caring why he's back, beyond a tiny bit of curiosity. I hope you don't worry about people judging him or you. And I hope you can get through this without too much stress!

Paul said...

Just support and love him. He's probably going to feel like crap. Let him know that his home is a place of safety and rest - no matter what might be going on outside it.

Life is long, and there are many different paths that lead to where you need to go. A mission can be a great thing; but there are great people who didn't serve, and there are not-so-great people that did. It's not the end-all and be-all.

You and your family will definitely be in our prayers - especially your son.

Chel said...

Hugs to you.
Just love him and support him... that's what moms are for!

Stephanette said...

Randy,

I'm sorry that you're family is facing this challenge. I don't know that there are things to say to make you feel better...so Cajun Man and I will keep you all in our prayers.

Loves to you

Stephanette said...

Randy,

I'm sorry that you're family is facing this challenge. I don't know that there are things to say to make you feel better...so Cajun Man and I will keep you all in our prayers.

Loves to you

beckers said...

Randi~

You are an amazing girl, sister and mother. Seriously, I grew up wanting to be like you.... And then I saw what a great mom you are, and I wanted to be that kind of mom.

I agree with what's been said... Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us, and it's exactly what we need in order for each of us to learn what we need to learn. You and Buddy and your family will get thru this, and you will be stronger for it.

Remember all the struggles that my little guy went thru in order to be baptized? At the time I couldn't figure out why in the world an 8 year old kid would have to have those struggles. But now I see that he has got a tremendous testimony and commitment to the Gospel because he had to fight for it. It sucks when you're in the middle of it, but we are better after we get thru it.

You guys are in our prayers. Let us know if there's anything we can do. (((hugs))) :)

Becky said...

"I mean surely there was something I didn't teach - didn't say - didn't do the way I should have, right?"

I wish I didn't know exactly how you felt when you typed this, but I do. I think this all too often.

I'm sorry you are having a rough time.

Yvonne said...

I am so sorry, randi.

You are a great mom--please don't forget it.

ganelle said...

My sis came home early for health issues. But she is absolutely a proud RM.

Best wishes.

Lorie said...

Don't be hard on yourself. And I hope that you find the balance and peace that you need.

Whitney said...

I'm sorry that he has to leave his mission early, but don't blame yourself. You helped get him to the point of going at all didn't you? A lot of guys now-a-days don't even go, I'd say 5 months is pretty decent :)
I hope you'll feel comfort, I can imagine that it would be sad and hard. I send my love!!!

Anonymous said...

As a Mom of 2 that are out in the field right now I can only imagine how hard this is for you. Just trust that you have taught him correct principles and he needs to learn now how to handle things for himself.

You did the best you can and those that know and love you and your family are well aware of that fact.

My prayers are with you that you will know, as you always have, the best way to help your son through this.

miggy said...

Randy--I haven't read through all the comments, but here are my 2 cents...in my view one of the hardest parts of having a missionary come home (or a son not go at all, in the case of my family) is dealing with the perception of others and how their perception can affect our perception and so on. (Not to mention questioning yourself as a mother). A mission is one of those litmus tests in the LDS world that is supposedly an easy indicator of someone's spirituality. (How many times did I hear "marry a return missionary" as a youth?) Well it's just not that simple. We have all known many returned missionaries who aren't living up to their covenants, and likewise we know many men who never served missions who are true disciples of Christ. But again it's the PERCEPTION...A returned missionary = righteous. It's just not the case, and I think people truly understand this. I know this probably goes far deeper for you as a mother, than caring what other people think but try to remember a mission is not a saving ordinance. He is still eligible for every blessing in eternity, including and especially temple marriage. Good luck and I'll send a prayer your way.

Anonymous said...

You are loved by great friends and family. They know your worth, and have great advice to get you through. I add my love and my knowledge that His plan is always better than mine. Further even though I think I know what the trial is about, am often wrong. I do know this isn't about the past this is about the future. You will be inspired. We surround you with our love and support you with our prayers. Gramzer

joanna said...

I was thinking some similar things that "lisaway", "paul" and "miggy" posted. Everyone gave some great thoughts and advice.
Just be there for him and make sure he knows how much you love him. He may choose to go back out, and he may choose to stay home. Let him know that he can ask Heavenly Father for help doing whatever is right for him.

mel said...

I've got a missionary out right now and can only imagine how you feel. All those preconceived notions and expectations sure are hard to make changes to. I think the best advice (which you've gotten lots of!) is to love and support him in any way you can, but also in ways that he wants when he gets home.

sue q said...

I follow your blog because you are real. And brave. And not alone.

After reading your post, I scanned down the mushrooming collection of supportive comments and cried. I know there's nothing I could say to add to the wisdom and compassion these other bloggers have offered, except to say that at times like this, it's really important to know that there is a myriad of love clouds being sent your way to help bolster you up.

Hang in there.

sogratefultobemormon.wordpress.com said...

sorry randi,
if you are not already doing this, i suggest you private journal what is going through your mind. do it privately so you don't have to "censor" yourself like you are on your blog.

private journaling is really helpful, cleansing, purging to the soul to me. so good to be able to be unfiltered and raw, whatever you need.

so if you are not already doing this, please do it.

blessings to you and your family.

love ya my sister,
kathleen

Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel said...

I'm sure this must be a difficult time for you. I hope you will find peace and comfort and be blessed with the knowledge of what the Lord's will is your son's life. I just hope you are able to overcome your feelings of guilt. I don't know you but I feel confident in saying that you come across as someone who teaches her children to love the Lord. Whatever led to your son's decision, please do not blame on your parenting. I am a returned missionary married to a returned missionary. We completed our missions honorably but we are also aware of the many trials and tribulations a young missionary faces. People should not be judging them or their parents on decisions that were made between them and the Lord. Yes, I think that's what I want to say---that your son's decision is between him and the Lord, and he must have struggled before Him in the making of this decision. So I hope that those who surround your family will respect that. Still I understand all the emotions going through you as a mother. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers.

mindyluwho said...

I'm so sorry Randi. We mom's tend to beat ourselves up way too much for what we "coulda, woulda, shoulda" done, I've been doing that a lot lately as I have had arguement after arguement with my son, but we are not perfect and we learn as we go, as do our children. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time.

VICKI IN AZ said...

Hi!! Found your blog thru another you make me smile. I understand, and I pray for your calmness thru the time to come. It is so hard to let go of these young men. Take care, Vicki

Melissa said...

I'm so sorry. I know this is a hard thing. You shouldn't beat yourself up. Free agency is a pretty tricky thing. (((Hugs)))

Heather said...

lots of love to you from me

The Dillon 6 said...

this proves that you ARE a good mom, my pretend friend. Love him every day...everyone will get through this.

Lippy said...

The kind of love that rings through loud and clear in your words will be just the thing this situation needs. Good luck with this. We're all with you.

Nancy Face said...

I just want you to know I really care about how you feel, as do many, many others. You are a wonderful person! (((((HUGS)))))

Tori :) said...

How the heck did I miss this post???

My friend's little brother came home after 6 months due to depression. I know he felt embarrassed because people assume he "did something." Hug Buddy. Vent all you want. Know we love you.

The Morris Fam said...

and i thought having a 4 yr old was hard...it will be interesting to see what my future w/ children holds. i hope you all are doing as good as can be. :)